Mixed morning for Stobart stars in Sardinia Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg had a steady start to the opening day of Rally d'Italia Sardegna, the sixth round of FIA World Rally Championship, and is lying in eighth place after the...
Mixed morning for Stobart stars in Sardinia
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg had a steady start to the opening day of Rally d'Italia Sardegna, the sixth round of FIA World Rally Championship, and is lying in eighth place after the opening three stages of day one. But team mate Matthew Wilson was hit by hydraulic problems at the start of SS1 and had to settle for 13th place going into the second pass of the stages this afternoon.
Solberg, who set the second fastest time on Thursday's shakedown, showed good pace early on finishing sixth on the 14.99km SS1 Sa Conchedda. But he struggled on SS2 Loelle dropping down the field and at the end of the morning had been pushed down to eighth by fast-charging youngsters Sebastien Ogier, Evgeny Novikov and Mads Ostberg. But with the rough, dusty road conditions favouring those drivers starting further down the field this position could work to the Norwegian's advantage.
Wilson has been hampered by hydraulic problems this morning which meant that he lost significant chunks of time over the course of the opening loop of stages as he was forced to use the manual gear shift. His mechanics will work to resolve the problem before this afternoon's loop which sees the drivers take a second pass at the same three tricky stages.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
"It was a very difficult loop of stages for us. A pipe split less than one kilometre into the first stage and we lost all of the hydraulic oil. It was very difficult to drive as we didn't have paddle gear shift and lost time using the manual gear change. The worst problem was probably that the centre diff didn't work as that meant we lost a lot of the normal handling. We didn't get a first split so we don't know how much time we had lost. Hopefully we can get it sorted out in service and start our rally for real this afternoon."
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
"I just haven't found the right feeling with the car this morning. We'll work on it in service and see if we can make it better. Everything is fine but we'll change the front springs to see if it's possible to find a better level of grip this afternoon. There's no big problem, it just didn't feel great."